Q. Pittsburgh obviously missed on a couple of opportunities, goal posts, missing the net a little bit. Do you expect them to come out a little bit more aggressive just because the puck didn’t bounce their way in Game 1?
COACH JULIEN: I expect them to be better. Any time you lose a game in your own building, and also being the team they are, they’re going to be better. We expect that. And that’s why we need to be better, as well. Post is part of the game and sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t, and every team has been on both sides of them.
We hit a few posts ourselves the last game. We’ve managed to score some goals. So that was the difference. So, again, when you have that much firepower in your lineup, you know what you’re up against. So we expect them to be better.
Q. What lessons do you think your club learned from having to overcome the Maple Leafs in round one and the way they can play offense, and how have you seen that carry over?
COACH JULIEN: It does play a big role. The momentum obviously switches, I think, to your side alright. I don’t know if I want to use the word momentum more than the confidence that it brings to your hockey club, and we’re seeing the same thing with Chicago, what they overcame against Detroit and the way they’ve played the first two games against LA. It does a lot for your team.
It makes you feel good. It makes you excited, gives you the energy that you need to continue. And the way we won Game 7, there’s no doubt in my mind there was a real big turning point. But at the same time I think the adversity you go through during the season helps you overcome some tough times, and I think that’s what helped us get through Game 7, is that we’ve been there before. We scored a couple of goals late in games, and we knew we could. So those kind of things that happen during the season also help you throughout the Playoffs.
Q. Just a thought on guys in the room were talking a little bit about how much they’re relishing the chance of the opportunity; everyone’s talking about Pittsburgh starting out strong, but the opportunity to come in here and try to win this second game and how much they’re welcoming the challenge of that.
COACH JULIEN: Well, it’s going to be a challenge. Like I said, they’re going to be a better team tonight. And we’re going to need to be a better team, and there’s certain things in the last game that I thought we have to be better at in this game, and if we do that we’re going to give ourselves a chance.
If we don’t, then we’re obviously going to give them a great opportunity to tie the series. So it’s hard to win games in the Playoffs, gets harder as you move forward. So every time you get a chance you have to make the most of it and don’t waste that opportunity by saying at least we won one out of two. You have to go out there every game and challenge and want to win that game because nothing guarantees you those home wins, and I think Pittsburgh knows that.
Q. Coach, what did you think of Torey’s game in Game 1?
COACH JULIEN: I know you guys ask questions about this and that guy, what did you think about his game. As far as I’m concerned, you know, I don’t really want to critique a player’s game more than say he’s been good for us. He’s done what he’s had to do.
That’s not to assume that he wasn’t good. I thought that just because he scored four and five and didn’t score the last game doesn’t make him a bad player, does it? He’s been good.
He moves the puck well. And obviously there’s a big forecheck going on here and it’s a physical — so far a physical series, so on and so forth. So he’s handled himself well. He’s going to be fine. He’s a great asset to our hockey club, and we’ve seen what he’s done for us with the puck and also on the power plays. So we have all the confidence in him and that’s why he’s still in our lineup.
Q. You talked about how Bartkowski handled the whole week of handling the pressure at home, and how did he handle the news obviously that he didn’t get to play at home?
COACH JULIEN: Like I said, Matt has grown immensely on and off the ice. And his approach right now is all he wants is for our team to win. And if he’s not in, he’s going to be supportive of his teammates. But at the same time he’s going to be ready when his name gets called to play. So he’s been great, and especially in this, I guess, unique situation where he’s at home. There’s no doubt is has to hurt a little bit. But he’s able to put priorities first and he’s thinking about our team right now.
Q. As a player, you were a defenseman, and I’m wondering over the years you were playing and into the years of coaching, were there styles that you wanted to adopt, were there teams you watched, were there great players on defense that you watched that really influenced the way you want defense played?
COACH JULIEN: Well, I think to be honest with you I’ve always been one of those coaches that adapts to whatever team you have. You’ve got to utilize the strengths you have and work with that. And that’s what I’ve tried to do, wherever I’ve been, whether it’s been Junior, the American League or NHL. And you look at the strengths that you have and you work with that, and you try and improve the weaknesses. So that’s what I’ve tried to do. And I think if you look at our team defensively, we’ve always been pretty decent.
We’ve had years where we’ve been challenged offensively. We’ve tried to create some adjustments to help the team that we have been – more successful offensively. And like I said, some teams have the Crosbys and the Malkins. We have the Krejcis and the Bergerons that are extremely good players, but they’re different types of players, and we utilize guys to their strengths and so far it’s been good for us.
Q. Yesterday you mentioned that David Krejci is simply a great player at this time of year, but I just wondered if Jaromir Jagr has had any influence over the last two months on his inspired play?
COACH JULIEN: I think David was pretty excited to have Jags come into our lineup and our team, because he’s always looked up to him as a younger player, and I think Jags is the one that’s recognized the fact that David is a great player. And I said that before, for people that know Jags, they know how he is. And to me he’s a great person. He’s been great in our dressing room. He’s happy to be with us.
And for what he’s accomplished and how he’s playing right now, even though the stats don’t indicate that, he’s made a lot of things happen. He’s strong in the puck and creates room for our players. So on and off the ice, I think Jags has had an influence on almost everybody.
Q. I’m guessing by the end of your playing career the NHL it was a 16- or 21-team league?
COACH JULIEN: Six (laughter).
Q. Here we are 30 teams today. The player you were then, do you think today, if you were at the top of your game, you could crack your own top six?
COACH JULIEN: I’d be in the penalty box all night for hooking, clutching and grabbing. I can tell you that much. You know, credit to those guys, from my playing days to now, we know players are in better shape, we know they’re bigger, stronger, the equipment’s gotten better. The game’s gotten faster and that’s why we should be excited about our game and stop looking back, because definitely if I take my peak years I couldn’t play in this league. That stick was such a good weapon to slow guys down, and we were allowed to do that stuff. Nowadays, if you can’t skate and you’re not strong, you can’t get in the right positions, you can’t play in this league.
That’s how much it’s evolved, and even with 30 teams. Can you imagine if we went down to six teams right now what kind of hockey this would be, but yet I think a lot of cities would miss out on a great game. So you try and balance that stuff out. And there’s so many great players out there. Anybody who tells me that this isn’t great hockey with 30 teams doesn’t have an open mind.
I think this league is great, and I think we have to evolve with this game. I was one of those guys when I was younger listening to older players complain about where the game’s gone, and I told myself I never wanted to be that guy. And I still don’t want to be that guy. I think it’s great; not only is the game getting better, but we as former players and as coaches have grown with it.
Q. Given the production you got from your first line, all throughout the course of the Playoffs, in particularly Game 1 here, have you sensed that it’s placed a subtle bit of pressure on everybody else, the other lines, to try and match that production?
COACH JULIEN: We’re only talking about one game here. In this series, the one game, and then the last series, I think we had scoring from the fourth line, from the Bergeron line and from that. So I’m not going to gauge myself on one game here. They played well here and they did a great job. But we also had some chances from the other lines. I said after the game the other night that I thought our third line played by far their best game of the series. So hopefully they can muster some goals here, because that would certainly help.
But nonetheless, I’ve been pleased with our team so far, and I think before we start talking about just the one line and engage in that on other lines we need to make that series move on a little bit.
Q. We’ve seen this team react well when the emotions are high in a game and the emotions start to get high. What did you see in how the team reacted when Patrice engaged in the fight with Malkin?
COACH JULIEN: I mean, it was two guys, two top guys on both teams showing that they’re ready to play. And it’s as simple as that. And I don’t think our reaction was any different than theirs. And in a way you credit those guys for standing up for themselves and then showing that the Playoffs mean something. Do both coaches want to see those guys in the penalty box, I don’t think so. They lost one of their best power play guys for the start of the third and we lost our best penalty killer for the start of the third. So it was a pretty even exchange if you prefer to put it that way, but I would prefer to have him on our bench versus in the penalty box.
Q. I guess my question was more along the lines of it’s just so rare to see Patrice drop the gloves. So is there maybe a different kind of jolt that that situation gave to the team?
COACH JULIEN: Not really. I think it just shows as I said just shows that both teams and all the players on both teams are willing to do what it takes to win. And it just shows the commitment I guess on both sides. If that’s the jolt that both teams need, so be it.